Is Your Inner Child in Your Face?
Mine has been lately…
Very adult-like (I thought), I set out to make some changes…
“AAAAAAAAUGH!” screamed that little person inside my head, followed by “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
This response didn’t happen right away, and honestly, the words in my head weren’t exactly those, but they do quite succinctly summarize the feelings behind my adult response to the challenge of change. In my head it sounded more like, “I don’t really need that much sleep…” or “I will just be on the computer a few more minutes…” (Yeah, right…)
I have been attempting to get more sleep by cutting myself off from the computer past a certain time. I have tried to use 9:00 p.m. as my cut-off time. Sounds very reasonable, doesn’t it? (Well, not for some of you who I know are awake at 10 or 11 p.m. and are on Facebook or writing emails!) All that I have read about getting enough sleep and getting quality sleep (including those deep sleep stages when your body is doing important repair work for you) — says that it is important to disconnect from electronics for a period of time before you go to sleep so that your brain can slow down and sleep well.
Knowing vs. Doing
Well, I know what they say to do, but can I DO what they say?! “Simple but not easy” the saying goes. Very simple to understand what needs to happen, but another story to follow through with what I know. When I pay attention to what I am doing, (like heading back to the computer or just staying on the computer past my 9 p.m. time), I hear myself trying to justify what I am doing, in an attempt to make it OK to continue with my old habit. If I were only two or three years old, it would probably sound more like “I DON’T WANT TO!” Really so much more honest and straightforward, but the more I learned that it might not be OK to say, “I DON’T WANT TO!” when an adult asked me to do something (and the better my verbal skills became), the more I learned to justify and rationalize my behavior.
I don’t want to totally knock justifying and rationalizing. Sometimes we do really want someone else to understand the bigger picture of what’s going on with us. Or we want to understand it. But in cases like this, I’m just throwing in extra obstacles for myself to deal with. It can be helpful to ask, “What is going on here?” It is more productive to ask when I’m not trying to justify why I’m currently heading to the computer, by asking at a time that is more neutral, when I am actually receptive to my own answers. And, it is SO important to ask in a way that is compassionate, like I am asking a dear friend. Otherwise, I’m just setting myself up for unproductive, defensive answers.
Food for Thought
2) Why am I wanting so much to be on the computer?
3) What is it that I like about being on the computer?
4) Is there something I am avoiding?
5) Is there something I am afraid of?
Kind Questions, Not Mean Ones!
1) Are there other ways to be on the computer that work better in the long run?
Perhaps I could be proactive and conscious about computer time and actually give myself the computer time I want by consciously putting it in my day somewhere? I think that part of what is at play here is a “I’ll do what I WANT!” mentality. By proactively giving myself what I want, I “take the wind out the sails” of that toddler mentality because I’m going about it in a way that is more reflective and aware, instead of in a mind-less way that is so easily a part of computer use!)
2) If there is something that I am avoiding, what is that? Is there a way of handling that thing I’m avoiding differently? Do I need support? Do I need to look at it from a more detached perspective and see if there is something missing for me? Would it help to talk to a compassionate friend? Do I need some “down” time? (Probably.)
3) If there is something that I am afraid of doing, who or what might be helpful? Could I offer myself some compassion? Is there perchance some kind of resource I need to shrink my fear so that it is more manageable? Maybe I just need more information. Or maybe I just need to know that other people have similar fears. (You can be assured this is so, no matter the fear!)
What is important is to being mindless and to being judgmental! Then I have a chance to practice being objective, to practice viewing myself and my habits from a more detached, compassionate perspective, as if I were a wise master studying her student and wondering how best to help.
Just this shift will go a very long way. Compassionate viewing of something creates a shift and just enough of a change to create space for a little more change…
As for my own computer time and trying to get more sleep, a wise friend suggested that I ask my 13-year-old what I might do differently. What a great idea! The willingness to consider other perspectives is what allows us to keep growing and changing.